South Asian countries join hands to fight wildlife crime

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 28, 2016-

Eight South Asian countries have agreed to promote and strengthen cooperation and collaboration to combat wildlife crime in a coordinated manner.

South Asia, home to iconic wildlife including tigers, one-horned rhinoceros, snow leopards and pangolins, among others, remains one of the prime targets for poaching and illegal trade of wildlife and their body parts.

Considering the rise in the number of trans-national organised crime threatening the existence of endangered and other important wildlife in the region, the governments from the eight countries in the region set up the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (Sawen), an inter-governmental body, in 2011 with its secretariat based in Kathmandu.

During the 3rd annual meeting of Sawen held in the Bangladeshi capital on October 26 and 27, the high-level delegations from the member countries agreed to further promote and enhance collaboration to combat wildlife crimes.

The meeting focused on key issues, including to make Sawen a legitimate inter-governmental organisation of South Asia to work in containing wildlife crime through enhanced law enforcement and regional cooperation, recruitment of secretary general for the network and creation of specific working groups for ensuring prompt actions to combat wildlife crime in the region, said Siddhartha Bajracharya, a Nepali delegate who attended the meeting.

However, it had largely remained inactive due to lack of interest from the respective governments to ratify the statute and become a formal member of the network.  Parliament of Nepal in July ratified the statute, and four other member countries—India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh—have since followed the suit.

Published: 28-10-2016 09:05

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